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NHL Playoff Madness

Lily Brickman, Sports Editor

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As the winter season comes to a close, so do the season’s appropriate sports. The National Hockey League is coming to the end of its season with the playoffs in full swing as the best teams battle it out for the Stanley Cup. The two month long process begins with sixteen cities on the edge of their seats, until just two are left. Will the Pittsburgh Penguins hold their title, or will a new team rule the ice?

Round one of the playoffs began on the twelfth of April with the top sixteen teams in the East and West competing to move on to the next round. The Eastern roster was topped off with the Penguins as an immediate favorite as the first seed, looking to repeat their success from last year, while the underdogs of Toronto hoped to prove their worth. However, the Maple Leafs fell along with the Blue Jackets, Bruins, and Canadiens, leaving the Rangers, Capitals, Senators, and Penguins as the teams who were able to come out of round one victorious. Matching success in the West were the Oilers, Ducks, Blues, and the Predators. With the first round coming to a close, eight teams prepared to continue their successes as round two kicked off on April 26th.

Contrary to the prior round, the second series of games proved to be extremely competitive with no team completing a sweep. The Eastern powerhouse matchup of the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins went for seven games. The Presidents’ Trophy winning Capitals saw their first victory of the series in game three, and were able to pull through in games five and six. However, the Penguins’ offense proved to be too dominant and pulled away to win the series. The Senators faced off against the Rangers in a six game series revealing that defensive play is essential to win. The success that the Senators experienced in round one continued in the second round with a 4-2 win over the Rangers. In the Western conference, the St. Louis Blues went against the Nashville Predators in a six game series. Though Blues goalie Jake Allen was able to hold off the Wild in round one, he saw defeat as the Predators took the series 4-2.  Meanwhile, the Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers faced off for an exciting seven game series. Coming off of a sweep in the opening round, the Ducks continued their dominance through offensive strategizing to take down the Oilers.

The Semi-Finals proved to be the most competitive round yet where the Senators attempted to dethrone the Penguins and the Ducks saw what it meant to have a predator. In a six game series, Ryan Getzlaf and his offensive empire were defeated by Nashville. Meanwhile, on the East coast, the Ducks saw a rare challenge in a seven game matchup where they were eventually able to break through. The Penguins continued their dominance by defeating the Predators 4 games to 2 to win the Stanley Cup.

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NHL Playoff Madness